Liz Graham is one of those people who has experienced the worst in life and is still creating positive and intriguing music for everyone, not just herself. Her latest single “Charcoal On A Canvas” is story about an artist trying to capture her subject and his refusal to cooperate.
Graham says of “Charcoal On A Canvas”: [It’s] about wanting to get to know a person on a deeper level. I want to start by sketching him on my canvas because I am intrigued by his shadows (the things that he hides) and what his truth may be. As I continue to pursue him, he questions everything that I say and resists my advances. Perhaps he doesn’t want me to really know him?”
I like this idea of the artist speaking from these two different perspectives. And it comes easy to Graham who has spent a successful career creating enlightening music for a large live following to the cinematic screen. She’s played to Lilith Fair, charted on CMJ and made the Top 10 in the UK and Japan.
The Nyack, NY native has experienced a painful childhood. Graham was an introverted girl in an emotionally and physically abusive home. Her only light and friend was her older brother Randy. Her brother would often find Graham singing in her crib.
But apparently life was a struggle for Randy and he took his own life.
Of her brother Randy’s suicide when she was 18, Graham says, “When I
found him, my world literally melted. I was heartbroken, destroyed and lost.
The only person who I had ever loved was gone forever. What do you do
when your role model and hero kills himself?”
Losing her brother put Graham at a crossroads. She could give up or she could use her talent for words and music to push forward. “I would wake up with the thought that perhaps I would write a meaningful song that day. Without
that, I don’t know how I would have continued to live.” Graham cut a new path for herself and used her music to reach out to others who were struggling.
Graham’s style reminds me of Joni Mitchell, a little Natalie Merchant with a heart-lifting lilt that belongs only to her. Not afraid to ponder the darkness, Graham’s work seeks to live in the light.
“CHARCOAL ON A CANVAS” lyrics
I said “we’re not art yet,
I just don’t know what we are right now”
You said, “it doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter anyhow”
I say “we could make our stay more memorable”
You say, ”there’s no guarantee it will be better”
Don’t you want to be in my gallery?
Don’t you want somebody who can capture you on canvas?
Charcoal on a canvas
I said, “you’re my fantasy
in the real world”
You said “what does that mean, what does that mean anyway?”
I say “I’ll slay dragons if you’ll sit for me”
You say, “put your stuff away I ain’t posing”
Liz Graham: vocals, acoustic guitar
Larry Alexander: Mellotron, bass, electric guitar, drums
Ira Seigel: electric guitar, bass
John Siegler: bass
Frank Vilardi: drums
Jane Scarpantoni: cello
Chip Larison: electric guitar
Loren Korevec: piano
Joe Delia: Hammond organ, Rhodes piano
Catherine Graham: background vocals
Suzanne Graham: background vocals
Melissa Alexander: background vocals
Engineer, Mixer Producer: Larry Alexander, Owner, ‘Studio “L” ‘, Valley Cottage, NY. (Grammy winner: Engineer, Janis Ian “At Seventeen”. Producer/Arranger: Liz Graham, Arranger: Marcia Robins
Adult Contemporary, Singer Songwriter, Triple A